Maria Mendes | Metropole Orkest | John Beasley

Saudade, Colour of Love

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Records
UPC: 0608917355222
Catnr: CR 73552
Release date: 07 October 2022
1 CD
✓ in stock
€ 19.95
Challenge Records
Catalogue number
CR 73552
Release date
07 October 2022

"... There's no sign of gray, however, in the luminous and vibrant songs that come primarily from Mendes' last album, "Close To Me" ..."

Jazzthing, 25-10-2022

About the album

Fado music is undeniable for the Portuguese people and for all of those who seek for nostalgic love in the past and present. And so is saudade – a Portuguese word that doesn’t translate to any other language in the world. Fado and saudade are forever bond. They both express the melancholic longing for the past and the hopes it becomes present once again. They also express the belief in destiny as a fortunate and fatalistic power that you cannot escape from. Surprisingly, I find these comparable with love, as love can strike at any moment leaving us powerless, colouring our lives with grey as well as bright rainbow colours. When I first listened to Fado, I felt an indescribable connection with how words and melody were delivered so intensively. That experience stayed with me over the years until I could no longer escape from the desire to combine my love for Jazz with my affection for Portugal.

A project was taking shape. And magical things started to happen. Advised by my dear friend, my bassist Jasper Somsen, I’ve reached out to John Beasley for a collaboration on arranging and producing these Portuguese folk songs. Alongside, I have written originals and was gifted a song by Hermeto Pascoal. The Metropole Orkest joined us opening up new musical possibilities. My third album Close To Me (2019) is the result of this enriching collaboration that gracefully wasn’t doomed to be over then.

This album you are holding in your hands is a result of a long-awaited dream. A live recorded album represents the truthful and thrilling opportunity to expand the music in ways you cannot when recording in a studio. New songs and new orchestrations were specially written for this material, premiered and recorded in Amsterdam, at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in May 2022. On stage: an exceptional team of thirty musicians – my band and the Metropole Orkest conducted by John Beasley. With us in the venue was the audience who kept ignited the joy of why live music is irreplaceable. Wittgenstein said “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world”. I believe in music as an unlimited language that can defy stylistic boundaries and can trigger (in us musicians, and you, the listener) surprise and enchantment. This music is about how I feel Fado and how I love it, free of definitions, free of limitations. This is no Fado album. This is no traditional Jazz music. This is an adventure that is real and can be felt by everyone. As love is.
Die Fado-Musik ist für die Portugiesen und für alle, die nach nostalgischer Liebe in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart suchen, unbestreitbar. Und das gilt auch für Saudade - ein portugiesisches Wort, das sich in keine andere Sprache der Welt übersetzen lässt. Fado und Saudade sind für immer miteinander verbunden. Sie drücken beide die melancholische Sehnsucht nach der Vergangenheit aus und die Hoffnung, dass sie wieder gegenwärtig wird. Sie drücken auch den Glauben an das Schicksal als eine schicksalhafte und fatalistische Macht aus, der man nicht entkommen kann. Überraschenderweise finde ich das mit der Liebe vergleichbar, denn die Liebe kann jeden Moment zuschlagen und uns ohnmächtig werden lassen, unser Leben sowohl grau als auch in leuchtenden Regenbogenfarben malen. Als ich zum ersten Mal Fado hörte, fühlte ich eine unbeschreibliche Verbindung mit der Art und Weise, wie Worte und Melodie so intensiv vorgetragen wurden. Diese Erfahrung blieb mir über die Jahre erhalten, bis ich mich dem Wunsch nicht mehr entziehen konnte, meine Liebe zum Jazz mit meiner Zuneigung zu Portugal zu verbinden.

Ein Projekt nahm Gestalt an. Und es begannen magische Dinge zu geschehen. Auf Anraten meines lieben Freundes, des Bassisten Jasper Somsen, habe ich mich an John Beasley gewandt, um diese portugiesischen Volkslieder gemeinsam zu arrangieren und zu produzieren. Daneben habe ich auch eigene Stücke geschrieben und ein Lied von Hermeto Pascoal geschenkt bekommen. Das Metropole Orkest schloss sich uns an und eröffnete neue musikalische Möglichkeiten. Mein drittes Album Close To Me (2019) ist das Ergebnis dieser bereichernden Zusammenarbeit, die zum Glück noch nicht zu Ende ist.

Dieses Album, das du in deinen Händen hältst, ist das Ergebnis eines lang ersehnten Traums. Ein live aufgenommenes Album bietet die wahrhaftige und aufregende Möglichkeit, die Musik auf eine Art und Weise zu erweitern, wie es bei einer Aufnahme im Studio nicht möglich ist. Neue Songs und neue Orchestrierungen wurden speziell für dieses Material geschrieben, uraufgeführt und aufgenommen in Amsterdam, im Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ im Mai 2022. Auf der Bühne: ein außergewöhnliches Team von dreißig Musikern - meine Band und das Metropole Orkest unter der Leitung von John Beasley. Mit uns im Saal war das Publikum, das immer wieder die Freude daran entfachte, warum Live-Musik unersetzlich ist. Wittgenstein sagte: "Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt". Ich glaube an Musik als eine grenzenlose Sprache, die sich über stilistische Barrieren hinwegsetzen und (bei uns Musikern und Ihnen, den Zuhörern) Überraschung und Verzauberung auslösen kann. In dieser Musik geht es darum, wie ich den Fado empfinde und wie ich ihn liebe, frei von Definitionen, frei von Beschränkungen. Dies ist kein Fado-Album. Es ist keine traditionelle Jazzmusik.

Dies ist ein Abenteuer, das real ist und von jedem gefühlt werden kann. So wie die Liebe.
Maria Mendes


From her native Portugal to her adopted home in the Netherlands, Grammy and Latin Grammy-nominated vocalist and composer Maria Mendes has traveled a world of musical expression. Hailed by DownBeat magazine as “a jazz singer of the highest order,” Mendes’ praises have been sung by such legends as Quincy Jones and Hermeto Pascoal. On her third release, Close To Me (Justin Time), Mendes fuses jazz and Fado in collaboration with Grammy winners John Beasley and the Metropole Orkest. The vocalist has released three striking solo albums and thrilled audiences around the world, including performances at the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC, North Sea and Montreux Jazz festivals. Mendes brings vibrant passion to every performance, whether in an intimate club or backed by orchestras and big bands. Her wealth of influences and experiences help make up what Exclusive magazine called “one of the most engaging, enchanting vocal approaches…that exists today.”

Close To Me got awarded with the 2020 EDISON® music prize for Best Jazz Vocal Album (equivalent to the Grammy, this is the most important Dutch music award).



... There's no sign of gray, however, in the luminous and vibrant songs that come primarily from Mendes' last album, "Close To Me" ...
Jazzthing, 25-10-2022

... the Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated Portuguese sings, scats and phrases great. And that alone makes this unusual idea with the fado and jazz an all-around success.  
virginjazzface, 11-10-2022

... A melange that is fascinating, because it transports the fados sung in the original mostly by fado queen Amália Rodrigues into the now and today, takes away the very big drama, but not the emotions, and transforms them into swinging, but also forward pushing and improvised moments, into soulful, but also sometimes a little biting orchestrated jazz pieces...
nrwjazznet, 11-10-2022

The live-atomsphere makes this album special...
Jazzism, 01-12-2022

... Together with the 30-piece Metropole Orkest under direction of John Beasley combined the Portuguese Fado with symphonic symphonic jazz and the folk music of her of her homeland. An experience!
Inmusic, 01-12-2022

This music is rich, spiritual and magic. You hear love, you hear passion.
Jazzism, 01-12-2022

... ... And Maria herself often enough uses her clear and of melodic turns filled voice as an instrument and scatted wordlessly and expressively.
Musikansich, 25-11-2022 don't have to be a fan of fado nor a diehard fan of jazz to embrace this album...
Rootstime, 22-11-2022

Maria Mendes swirlingly evokes the spirit of fado in 'Saudade, Coulor of Love' with her own adventurous soul and expression to a contemporary dimension with a blend of improvisation as a stepping stone to jazz with an excellent rhythm section and an excellent Metropole Orkest inspired by John Beasley.
Jazzhalo, 22-11-2022

As most readers of my reviews know I am generally not that enthusiastic about vocal jazz, however there are always exceptions, first of all this is not pure jazz, it is fado, the Portuguese “blues” but here in a whole new way dressed by the accompaniment of the fabulous Metropole Orkest and secondly, this is a singer whose voice will leave no one unmoved, as clear and pure and as full of conviction as I have rarely heard.
rootstime, 01-11-2022

... Colors and moods of the orchestra support the combination of sentiment and expression, while her combo provides the necessary portion of jazz.
nadann, 26-10-2022

... Impressively atmospheric, with excellent soloists, among them Maria Mendes herself.
Concerto, 12-10-2022

... All the more I recommend this unique musical material, on which Maria Mendes adds vocals in her own way and John Beasley has created a unique arranged background.
jazzfun, 10-10-2022

... Her recording moves somewhere between jazz and fado. In doing so, Maria Mendes takes every opportunity to present all facets of her voice.
Fono Forum, 04-10-2022

... Suddenly, however, the opener "Com Que Voz" transforms. Maria Mendes and the orchestra under the direction of John Beasley strip off their smoothly ironed outfit and drift into a whirlpool full of piano clusters and clarinet scales...
Jazzthing, 23-8-2022

... Her recording moves somewhere between jazz and fado. In doing so, Maria Mendes takes every opportunity to present all facets of her voice.

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